A Driven Man
“What drives you?” Victor Oliver, my editor, asked 30 years ago. (I had written 35 books for his publishing house in six years.)
“I guess it’s because I have a lot of energy.” I wasn’t introspective enough to understand the question, let alone respond properly.
If I were to answer him today, I’d say something like this: “I need to prove to myself that I’m worthwhile.”
I had a rotten childhood—not that different from many others—with a history of sexual, physical, and verbal abuse. Feeling neglected and unwanted—all the classic symptoms. I compensated (unaware, of course) by becoming an overachiever.
People often commended me on my prodigious output, and I relished hearing that. Today I say, “That wasn’t normal; I was driven.”
The upside of this is that the trauma of childhood has enabled me to say, “Only by the grace of a loving God have I been able to admit my drivenness and to make it a positive factor.”
I’m learning to accept who I am. Being a writer is the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done. Each morning I now say to myself: “I’m working less and enjoying my life more. I’m learning to say yes to Cec.”
The test came after I received a last-minute invitation to speak for one hour at the Hope for Wholeness Conference near Asheville, NC. Comedian Christine Sneeringer set it up and volunteered to drive. “Why don’t we go whitewater rafting on the way?” she asked.
“I don’t have the time. I need to get back to a book deadline.” That was my answer; it was the first week after I began my self-talk. Minutes later I thought about my words. I contacted Christine and said yes. We went whitewater rafting (and Twila posted a picture to prove it).
I wrote this after wondering how many other driven people need to reserve time for themselves.
I’m learning to say yes to myself.